Growing Future Generations of Leaders: Jessie Marcus

May 15, 2018

By Yvette DeBow-Salsedo


Jessie Marcus, a stewardship manager for the Trust, has just completed year 1 of a 2 year certificate program from the Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute (LEAD New York).

A leadership development program for professionals in the food, agriculture and natural resources sectors, LEAD NY brings a group of 30 members per class through a rigorous training program to prepare them to address the issues facing our food system and rural communities.

Today, there are over 400 LEAD NY alumni serving in leadership positions in private business, local, state and federal governmental positions, not for profit organizations and educational institutions.


In the first year, the LEAD NY program focuses on leadership fundamentals, and brings the class to locations across the state to understand the issues impacting the varied agricultural communities. Jessie’s time in the program this year included a tour with the class to eastern Long Island, with visits to Pindar Vineyards, Half Hollow Nursery, Van Bourgondien Nursery, and the Cornell Cooperative Marine Education Center — with Jessie leading a discussion on the challenges impacting Long Island farmers and the Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative.

“Through LEAD NY, I’m gaining not only practical experience and knowledge about the issues impacting our local growers and solutions to assist our farming community to meet the challenges in the future; but also developing important connections with colleagues throughout the state that can work with us on these solutions now and for years to come,” said Jessie.

Jessie works alongside Melanie Cirillo, Director of Conservation Programs, and Dan Heston, Senior Manager of Agricultural Programs on the Trust’s farmland leasing programs and our work with the LIREDC and the Ag Capital Grant Program. Her participation in LEAD NY directly impacts her work with these programs and future development programs in support of Long Island agriculture.

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